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I need a little longer to figure out who I am


At times, I am not sure who I am, what I want to be , and how I want people to see me. That reminds me of the Marketing Psychology Classes at Aston when our Proff with her very heavy but cute Greek accent would explain to us about ‘real self’ and ‘acquired self’.
Anyway, getting back to the topic.. The other day, I was watching the chick-flick (or the politically correct: Rom-Com) ‘Leap Year’. Chick flicks are those feel good movies that I reserve for days I feel exceptionally low and question my very existence. Anyway, there I was watching the movie when a bride comes on the screen and reads out her wedding vows-
May you never steal, lie or cheat.
But if you must steal, then steal away my sorrows.
And if you must lie, lie with me all the nights of my life.
And if you must cheat, then please cheat death, because I couldn’t live a day without you.
A part of me thought this was the cutest thing ever and felt the need to have someone I could say that to while the other part laughed at it for being so cheesy- Okay, you love him, he loves you, cut the crap out and go on with life. While a part of me, wanted to feel that teenage-romance feel and think that all’s good with the world with love around, the other part (very conscious of how people associate these cheesy, romantic and to an extent corny scripts to weaknesses of the womankind) wanted to laugh at it and act all tough.
Unable to decide on which me I want to be, I gave up thinking. Well, what the hell, not like I have to post a review of the movie, so, I can enjoy the privilege of being undecided on this matter.
But it’s more than just that, isn’t it? It’s not about a film review..it’s about knowing what I actually want and accepting myself for what I am.
One of these days, I need to take a stand and say- screw you guys, I think it’s cute!
May be through this post I am doing just that. (This is not how I had planned to end this post, but I will just let my hands type and see where it takes me). May be my friend was right- may be I do behave like a princess in pink waiting for her knight in shining armour. Well, if that’s who I am, I should not have qualms to accept it.
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Autumn Yearns

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Autumn makes me sad. It reminds me of the other autumns I have spent. When the yellow crisp leaves are chased by the gusts of slightly chilly wind, I feel nostalgic. I feel a sweet-sad pang of pain.

Autumn reminds me of the other autumns of my life. The other worlds I was in. The other me that I was. Etched in my memory is the day when sitting between our two ponds on a straw mat and reading Tintin- Adventures in the Black Island, I heaved a sigh as the birds were disturbed in their afternoon nap by the autumn wind that also dropped a tiny ladybird on my book from the lychee tree above. A few years later, the autumn wind met me on the terrace of my hostel as I was leaning on the edge and letting my mind wander on an unusually calm evening. The peels of the bells from the nearby Buddhist monastery- calling the monks for their evening prayer- still rings in my ears. As I was walking back home from college- in Kolkata some two years after that- the autumn wind swirled the dust, rush and pain of the big city towards me. And this time it was a yellow mango leaf that drifted on me as a token- a sign that here was another autumn. A crow crowed away as the neighbourhood slept in a silent and peaceful siesta.

Now in Birmingham, as the trees are losing their leaves for the year, and the colours of nature are fast disappearing warning the arrival of a gloomy, cold and depressing winter, the same autumn wind brushes against a tired me walking home alone from work. And yet again I feel that sweet-sad pang of pain.

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Musings of a five year old!

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Five is a magical age. Kids think when they are five.
Sarah (my colleague) is often left speechless about the kind of topics her daughter brings up and is often left to wonder if a fairytale answer for everything will suffice any longer. More importantly, should she cripple her with the view of a sugar coated world while her child is expected to know a lot about the world from the moment she climbs down her pram to wobble her way around.
In one of her interrogations about the world little Stacy asked her mum why a “black” lady has a “white” child (from her husband’s previous marriage) and a brown child (the child from her own wedlock). It totally escaped her how a family can be of so many different shades. In another instance, she deemed her mother incapable of being a teacher at the school- “you are not white”.
A pink top with hello kitty and a lollypop no longer defines a five year old girl. She is smart, inquisitive and (if i may say so) sensible.
Sometimes parents come under the brunt of their wrath when they don’t abide by the principles these kids live their lives by. No, Stacy doesn’t ask her mum if she is a princess in disguise or ask for a unicorn on her birthday. (These are privileges parents have lost a long time back)
Back from school one day, Stacy, told her mum with a frowny face, “Mum, Jonny in my class has jelly legs”. Sarah laughed out loud thinking that during lunch break Johnny must have dropped jelly on his legs that day. Stacy’s thoughtful frown changed into a grim look as she reprimanded her, mother-“It’s not funny. He’s my friend” and walked away. Imagine Sarah’s shock and regret when the next day, while dropping her daughter to the school, she saw little Jonny in a wheelchair and realised that he couldn’t walk. I think then she wished her daughter had reprimanded her a bit more. Later that day, Stacy came up with a solution to the problem, “I think, he should put his legs in the freezer for a day that should make them hard enough for him to walk on”.
Five is a magical year. Kids think when they are five.
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Somewhere down the proverbial Memory Lane

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An ancient beetle nut tree, a silk cotton tree (with dripping gum). At a weird angle from it and a fox burrow between the two, from like an inch below that, starts the still water of the pond. It however looked more like a farm of water lettuce than a pond. Dadu was always lazy to get them removed and slowly the fish died and so did the deep pink water lily that poked its head out of the lettuce jungle once in a while.
As you make your way through the rows of beetle nut trees, you see a small path leading to the house. On the left you can see a haystack. Right behind it you can see the banana tree with its red flower that burst open in the heat of the previous afternoon. Through the red petal like layers you can see the long slender off white bracts that reminds one of neatly arranged cigarettes with sea anemone like tentacles in one end. Somewhere below the haystack’s bamboo structure, hidden in rotting hay and leaves, was the snake hole of the cobra that often landed on Dadu with a soft, warm and yet powerful thud as he’d try taking hay out of the stack in the dark of the evening.
Further down on the left was our neighbour’s pond. It was just the opposite of ours- banks neatly mowed, water crystal clear and a ripple here and a slosh there assured one of the rich fish life in that water. I still remember our neighbour out every afternoon with his sickle, cutting that overgrown blade of the grass as the sun rose further into the sky and the birds chirped on the trees in the lazy noon air. He would wipe drops of sweat off his forehead with the back of his palm and greet me when sometimes i would go to sit by the pond and read my story book.
Coming back to the path, if you looked to your right, you’d see two mango trees and a tree that none of us knew the name of. It never bore fruits or flowers and Dadu couldn’t bring himself to cut it down. So it stood on the way and acted like our first foot hold to climb on to the low ceiling and then on the mango tree during summers. Surprisingly, mangoes you pluck with your own hands taste better than the ones you get in the market. Yeah, you might have to bite a rotten portion off with a black wriggling worm and the sour flesh can make your teeth tingle for the whole day. But the taste of achievement with the joys of childhood made them more than just fruits.
If you keep walking towards the house, you can see a guava tree and a puny non-fruiting mango tree so close that their branches were tangled and gave the impression of (as a poet would put it) two lovers joined in an eternal embrace.
As I lie on my bed and close my eyes, I can see them all even today. I can feel that warm summer wind with the smell of hay and water hyacinth. I can hear the crow breaking the silence of the noon and the small sparrows hopping around in their swift and agile moments as they feasted on the wheat grains still sticking to the hay. I can see the low litchi tree that bore fruits just once in 5 years and the cotton tree that let out cotton tuffs with every gust of wind. As I suppress a tear the present condition of the place comes to my mind. It now belongs to a realtor who filled the pond and cut down the trees and has made small houses to rent.
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Perfect Imperfections

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Perfection. We strive all our lives towards that perfect future. We are always on our unending search for that perfect partner. We seek for perfection in everything we do. Perfect house. Perfect salary. Perfect life.
But is perfection really desirable?
I think it’s the small little imperfections in life that makes it so beautiful. Had we all been oh-so-phurfect, do you think life would be even half as fun? Had all the guys in the world been just perfect, sure it would reduce our woes to half but we could then just pick a random person to spend the rest of our lives with, well, they are all the same anyway- just perfect.
Can we deny the fact that even the worst of our relationships had something good about them? Don’t we hate the toilet habits of our brothers? But do we love them any less? Would we want them otherwise? Don’t we hate when our little sisters use that new lip-gloss? But doesn’t the fight that follows, make our relationship even sweeter?
Aren’t these the imperfections that make them perfect? perfect for us?
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Dasvidaniya

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I try to hold everything dear to me too close to my heart. This makes separations and even the very thought of forgetting with time impossible to bear. Not only people, I hold memories too close as well. I live in the constant fear of time and life fading them away from me.
All the partings in the last few months taught me a thing or two. As some of the people closest to my heart slowly started to part, I realised that I needed a change in myself to cope up with the separations. I started to tell myself that the friendship we had was as sweet because we knew that very soon we have to part ways.
That’s how time sweeps people out from our lives- like high tide on the sea shore: swoosh and the person’s gone. It is then when I learnt how to let go.
How not to keep perfume bottles even after they were finished just because a sniff can take me back to the time I bought it.
How not to see the pictures over and over again and thinking how things would be different if they were still here.
How not to stop eating the things they swore by.
How not to force myself to not have fun as a cost of the separation.
How not to stop new people from entering my life.
I had read all these in books and magazines and innumerable agony aunt columns. But only now I have understood their meaning and only now I am accepting things how they are and moving on in life.
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Tale of my Tamilization

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When I left my convent school, I thought I had left behind my Tamil connection with it: from the Tamil and Keralite Sisters to the food cooked in coconut oil with curry leaves. Little did I know that some 7 years later that small state will crop back into my life and ‘tamilize’ me more than ever.
It happened where you would least expect it to happen- the UK. When Bharath and I became friends, the closed vaults of south-Indian memories began to open up again. Everything from his accent (!) to the food he cooked, reminded me of my convent. Wait- that was just the beginning. As days passed by, and more people added to our group, I realised that I was drifting into a minority corner as almost all of them were Tamils: Sud – Tamil, Manisha- his g/f (trying all the time to learn Tamil ways) – the fact that she was a non-Tamil, never helped me much. Karthik- super-Tamil: he eats, sleeps and breaths Tamil; Krishanth and Anush (who later joined us)- Sri Lankan (yeah you guessed it- tamil), Anjali- mallu (as if that helped!) -my only ray of hope- Mirrin – north eastern, non-Tamil, from Calcutta- as the profile fit like jig-saw pieces I realised that I’ll always have her with me through this tough phase! Hang-outs became more like staring from one face to another (when they went bantering in Tamil) rather than participating in the chit-chats. The worst part being their refusal to explain those conversations as it would be “lost in translation”.
As my early days of tamilization rolled into its medieval age, I started doing things I never thought I would. Beat that- I went to watch a Tamil movie- in the UK- which happened to be my first movie in the country. And did I mention it had no subtitles? Not that I had leant enough Tamil to understand a whole 3-hour movie of Tamil words coming out of Surya’s mouth like flood water from a dam. Convenient for me Bharath, who had promised to be my translator for the evening quit at the last moment from the post- duh! He had to watch the movie! n a Déjà vu there “it’ll be lost in translation” anyway. Thank you so much.
When my Tamilization hit its maturity curve, I started gorging on sambar, rasam and curd-rice! (The ilish-mach was now long lost) Even when we went out for dinners, I saw myself eating dosas and slurping sambar. So much was my tamilization that I had started to consciously learn words (and unconsciously learn the accent) and could pick bits and pieces from their conversations. One fine morning when I called chocolate – chaaklet, I raised a frown to what has been happening to me (and the frown is still there).
It’s tough even for me to believe that I actually sang a tamil song at a party a few days back! With around 500 Tamil songs on my laptop and 10 Tamil words in my vocabulary and all tamil food items on my meal menus, I think I have touched the peak of my tamilization graph.
Something tells me that it’s not going to change in a very long time!
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Thirty Days’ Prayer to Saint Joseph ( For any Special Intention)

Ever blessed and glorious Joseph, kind and loving father, and helpful friend of all in sorrow! You are the good father and protector of orphans, the defender of the defenseless, the patron of those in need and sorrow. Look kindly on my request. My sins have drawn down on me the just displeasure of my God, and so I am surrounded with unhappiness. To you, loving guardian of the Family of Nazareth, do I go for help and protection.
Listen, then, I beg you, with fatherly concern, to my earnest prayers, and obtain for me the favors I ask.
I ask it by the infinite mercy of the eternal Son of God, which moved Him to take our nature and to be born into this world of sorrow.
I ask it by the weariness and suffering you endured when you found no shelter at the inn of Bethlehem for the holy Virgin, nor a house where the Son of God could be born. Then, being everywhere refused, you had to allow the Queen of Heaven to give birth to the world’s Redeemer in a cave.
I ask it by that painful torture you felt at the prophecy of holy Simeon, which declared the Child Jesus and His holy Mother future victims of our sins and of their great love for us.
I ask it through your sorrow and pain of soul when the angel declared to you that the life of the Child Jesus was sought by His enemies. From their evil plan you had to flee with Him and His Blessed Mother to Egypt. I ask it by all the suffering, weariness, and labors of that long and dangerous journey.
I ask it by all your care to protect the Sacred Child and His Immaculate Mother during your second journey, when you were ordered to return to your own country. I ask it by your peaceful life in Nazareth where you met with so many joys and sorrows.
I ask it by your great distress when the adorable Child was lost to you and His Mother for three days. I ask it by your joy at finding Him in the Temple, and by the comfort you found at Nazareth, while living in the company of the Child Jesus. I ask it by the wonderful submission He showed in His obedience to you.
I ask it by the perfect love and conformity you showed in accepting the Divine order to depart from this life, and from the company of Jesus and Mary. I ask it by the joy which filled your soul, when the Redeemer of the world, triumphant over death and hell, entered into the possession of His kingdom and led you into it with special honors.
I ask it through Mary’s glorious Assumption, and through that endless happiness you have with her in the presence of God.
O good father! I beg you, by all your sufferings, sorrows, and joys, to hear me and obtain for me what I ask.

(make your request)
Obtain for all those who have asked my prayers everything that is useful to them in the plan of God. Finally, my dear patron and father, be with me and all who are dear to me in our last moments, that we may eternally sing the praises of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.